- Executive Summary:
Kathy Barnette and Doug Mastriano, who are both running for office in the 2022 midterm elections, have aligned themselves with Dark Money groups, domestic extremist organizations, and foreign agents. Both candidates supported and attended the January 6th Capitol Riot, and have appeared in Q-Annon conventions. The two candidates are also close associates with the former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who was indited for not registering as a foreign agent.
Tactical Rabbit assesses with confidence that Barnette and Mastriano will continue to spread harmful disinformation and conspiracy theories about the very government that they wish to be a part of. As seen by their actions at the January 6th Riots, both individuals have a distrust of the government and a disregard for law and order.
- Key Judgments:
- Both Kathy Barnette and Doug Mastriano received financial support for their campaigns through “Dark Money” sources. Dark Money sources are campaign funds that originate from non-profits and are passed through PAC’s to aid candidates. Campaign contributions conducted in this manner are not required to name the individuals who contributed through the corporations.
- Barnette and Mastriano were both present at the January 6 Capitol Riot. Although neither were photographed inside the Capital building both funded transportation for participants. Additionally, both Barnett and Mastriano were active participants in the #stopthesteal movement and attempted to audit the Pennsylvania ballots after the 2020 presidential election.
- Barnette and Mastriano were both regulars in events promoted by followers of domestic extremist group, Q Anon. Barnette and Mastriano were both scheduled to be featured speakers at the Patriots Arise Conference, however Barnett did not attend the event.
- Both Barnette and Mastriano have ties to Michael Flynn. Each candidate was endorsed by the disgraced former Lieutenant General. Additionally, both candidates took part in a frantic series of events with Flynn and former president DONALD TRUMP that spawned the #stopthesteal campaign which ultimately lead to the January 6th Capital Riots.
The following represents the evidence of these judgments. Appendix A contains analytical products used in the creation of this report. Appendix B contains the collected information used in this report.
Both Barnett and Mastriano received financial support for their campaigns through “Dark Money” sources. Open Secrets, the campaign watchdog organization, defines Dark money as campaign contributions filtered through shell companies, non-profits and other organizations. These Dark Money sources effectively hide the true source of the funding as the source is either not required to be disclosed or obfuscated by numerous smaller donations1.
In Barnett’s case, her primary PAC “Friends for Kathy Barnett” has received numerous donations from WinRed2, the Republican campaign strategy and finance organization. WinRed was the subject of at least one lawsuit over re-occurring donations3. Donations
- A 501tax-exempt, NW, and Washington, “Dark Money Basics.”
- “WinRed – Conservatives’ #1 Fundraising Technology.”
- CNN, “Federal Judge Allows State Investigations of WinRed’s Fundraising Tactics to Proceed”; Sollenberger, “GOP Cash Machine’s Behavior Is ‘Nothing Short of Scandalous.’”
collected by WinRed are listed on FEC filings as WinRed preventing examination of their origin4.
Barnett’s top individual donors are the construction billionaire Joseph Saiia, and Federalist Society member Paul Martino. Saiia has a history of funding conservative Republican PACs including the “Make America Great Again PAC” and “Patriots for Perry”. Martino is a member of the Federalist Society, an organization that heavily influences the selection of Supreme Court Justices5.
Barnett has also received funding from the Americans for Hindus PAC, which purportedly supports candidates friendly to the Hindu principals6. However, the website for Americans for Hindus, appears to echo popular right wing positions, and discuss the persecution of Hindu people by Muslims.
Mastriano, who raised suspicions in 2021 over his failure to report on the spending of his campaign7, has more opaque sources of funding. Mastriano’s funding can be traced to several Dark Money organizations to include The Commonwealth Children’s Choice Fund, which through a series of shell companies and organizations flows from Jeffery Yass. Yass is linked to the Koch Brothers, and the Khoelt Policy Foundation8. As of early May 2022 Mastriano’s campaign finance records showed that the majority of his funding originated from “Unitemized Donations”9.
Outside of campaign finance, Mastriano allegedly received nearly $50,000 in donations from trade groups while in office10.
- “Browse Receipts.”
- Matthews, “The Incredible Influence of the Federalist Society, Explained”; “Who Funds The Federalist?”
- “Americans 4 Hindus.”
- “Franklin County DA Declines to Prosecute Mastriano over Campaign Finance Filing”; “Doug Mastriano Said He’s Barely Spent Any Money Running for Governor. How Can That Be?”
- “Yass Connections (Aug 2021).”
- “MASTRIANO, DOUGLAS VINCENT (DOUG) – FollowTheMoney.Org.”
- Micek, September 23, and 2021, “Report Flags Corporate Donors to GOP Lawmakers Tied to Pa. Election Probe |Thursday Morning Coffee.”
Figure 2: Screen shot of Twitter feed from Jan 6 2020
Kathy Barnett and Doug Mastriano were both present at the January 6 Capitol Riot.
Although neither were photographed inside the Capital Building both funded transportation for participants. Mastriano was photographed several times at the capitol and has subsequently been subpoenaed for the January 6th congressional hearing11. Mastriano was purportedly to be one of the speakers at the January 6th #stopthesteal protest at the capital. And can be seen in multiple photographs taken during the riot12. Barnett and Mastriano funded three buses each to transport people from Pennsylvania to the Capital grounds for the #stopthesteal protest.
Prior to the events of January 6th, Barnett and Mastriano were active participants in the #stopthesteal movement attempting to audit the Pennsylvania ballots after the 2020 presidential election. Mastriano, spearheaded an audit of election equipment in Fulton County PA, using the “Cyber Ninja” company who subcontracted the audit to Wake TSI13. As of early May 2022 Cyber Ninjas was no longer in business14. At that time their website also encouraged visitors to donate to CyFIR and Voices and Votes both were previous supporters of the Q-Annon movement. Voices and Votes is a 501(c)(4) run by several One America Network News (OANN) reporters15.
- A 501tax-exempt, NW, and Washington, “GOP Candidates Who Participated in the Jan. 6 Rally Are Raising Millions”; “Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Candidate Subpoenaed By Jan. 6 Committee Silent On Request.”
- “New Videos Appear to Show State Senator Doug Mastriano Closer to Capitol Insurrection than He Said.”
- A 501tax-exempt, NW, and Washington, “Trump-Tied ‘Dark Money’ Groups Funding Arizona Ballot Review.”
- “Cyber Ninjas.”
- A 501tax-exempt, NW, and Washington, “Trump-Tied ‘Dark Money’ Groups Funding Arizona Ballot Review.”
Figure 3: Original advertisement for Patriots Arise
Barnett and Mastriano have both promoted the group Q-Annon. The FBI describes Q-Annon as a conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremist organization16. In early 2019, FBI analysts assessed that the themes and messages promoted by Q-Annon would likely cause it’s members to conduct criminal and violent acts.
In April 2022 Mastriano was a speaker at the Q-Annon affiliated “Patriots Arise” conference in Gettysburg Pennsylvania17. Originally listed as a speaker for this event, Barnett did not make an appearance. Both Mastriano and Barnett have ties to the alleged leader of Q-Annon, Ron Watkins18. In a meeting after the 2020 presidential elections Barnett, Mastriano, Watkins, Flynn, and others met with Trump to discuss possible options for auditing the election results19.
17 April 26 and Pm, “Patriots Arise”; “Speakers.”
- “Free Speech, Hate Speech and the King of the Trolls”; Stieb, “Who Is Ron Watkins, the QAnon Celebrity Running for Congress?”
- “Kathy Barnette’s Futile Hunt for Voter Fraud Outside Philadelphia — and What It Says about the GOP”; A 501tax- exempt, NW, and Washington, “Trump-Tied ‘Dark Money’ Groups Funding Arizona Ballot Review.”
Figure 4: Screen shot of Kathy Barnette’s Twitter feed
Michael Flynn has endorsed both Barnett and Mastriano in their current campaigns20. Barnett has received campaign funding from long time Flynn ally, Velma Ann Ruth21. Mastriano met with Flynn several times including the meeting that organized the #stopthesteal campaign which resulted in the January 6th Capitol Riot.
Flynn, was charged with failing to register as a foreign agent, after his private intelligence company the Flynn Group was hired to lobby for a Turkish firm.22 Flynn is also a prominent member of the Q-Annon group and was thought to be the leader at one time23.
- “Endorsements”; “Michael Flynn Claims Jesus Will Be Called a Domestic Terrorist Today, Endorses Mastriano – The Hiu.”
- “Browse Receipts.”
- A 501tax-exempt, NW, and Washington, “Flynn’s Lobbying Subject of Probe.”
23 June 27 2021 and A.m, “How Trump Ally Michael Flynn Nurtured — and Profited From — the QAnon Conspiracy Theory”; Heilweil, “Michael Flynn’s Coup Comments Show How QAnon Is Evolving in the Biden Era”; Rosenberg, “Pushing QAnon and Stolen Election Lies, Flynn Re-Emerges.”
Tactical Rabbit assesses with strong confidence that Kathy Barnett and Doug Mastriano are supporters of the Q-Annon community. Furthermore, we assess that Barnett and Mastriano’s actions during the 2020 presidential elections directly contributed to the January 6th Capitol Riot.
Both Barnett and Mastriano, have connections to Dark Money groups and their campaign’s have been funded by ultraconservative organizations. The two display a fundamental lack of trust in the United States election process, which is ironic given they are both participants in it.
Appendix A- Network Diagram
Figure 5: Connections between Barnett, Mastriano and Flynn
Appendix B- References
A 501tax-exempt, charitable organization 1300 L. St NW, and Suite 200 Washington. “Dark Money Basics.” OpenSecrets. Accessed May 8, 2022.
———. “Flynn’s Lobbying Subject of Probe.” OpenSecrets News, November 8, 2017. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2017/11/flynns-disclosure-violations-may-carry-legal-consequences/.
———. “GOP Candidates Who Participated in the Jan. 6 Rally Are Raising Millions.” OpenSecrets News, February 4, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2022/02/gop-candidates-jan-6th-raising-millions/.
———. “Trump-Tied ‘Dark Money’ Groups Funding Arizona Ballot Review.” OpenSecrets News, June 9, 2021. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2021/06/trump-dark-money-groups-funding-arizona-review/.
“Americans 4 Hindus.” Accessed May 8, 2022.
April 26, Kyle Mantyla |, and 2022 2:33 Pm. “Patriots Arise: Multiple GOP Candidates Appeared at a QAnon Conference.” Right Wing Watch, April 26, 2022. https://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/patriots-arise-multiple-gop-candidates-appeared-at-a-qanon-conference/.
FEC.gov. “Browse Receipts.” Accessed May 8, 2022. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/. CNN, Fredreka Schouten. “Federal Judge Allows State Investigations of WinRed’s Fundraising
Tactics to Proceed.” CNN. Accessed May 8, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/26/politics/winred-political-fundraising-investigation/index.html.
Cyber Ninjas. “Cyber Ninjas.” Accessed May 9, 2022. https://cyberninjas.com/index.html.
The Morning Call. “Doug Mastriano Said He’s Barely Spent Any Money Running for Governor.
How Can That Be?” Accessed May 8, 2022. https://www.mcall.com/news/pennsylvania/mc-nws-pa-doug-mastriano-campaign-spending-20220221-7rym3nuqzrde5b2k2vrhnfwt2q-story.html.
Kathy Barnette. “Endorsements.” Accessed May 9, 2022. https://barnetteforsenate.com/endorsements/.
“Exclusive: FBI Document Warns Conspiracy Theories Are a New Domestic Terrorism Threat.” Accessed May 9, 2022. https://news.yahoo.com/fbi-documents-conspiracy-theories-terrorism-160000507.html.
ABC27. “Franklin County DA Declines to Prosecute Mastriano over Campaign Finance Filing,” February 25, 2022. https://www.abc27.com/pennsylvania-governor-election-2022/franklin-county-da-declines-to-prosecute-mastriano-over-campaign-finance-filing/.
“Free Speech, Hate Speech and the King of the Trolls.” Accessed May 9, 2022. https://www.playboy.com/read/8chan-hate-speech.
Heilweil, Rebecca. “Michael Flynn’s Coup Comments Show How QAnon Is Evolving in the Biden Era.” Vox, June 1, 2021. https://www.vox.com/recode/2021/6/1/22463268/michael-flynn-coup-comments-qanon-trump.
June 27 2021, Candace Rondeaux, and 10:00 A.m. “How Trump Ally Michael Flynn Nurtured — and Profited From — the QAnon Conspiracy Theory.” The Intercept. Accessed May 9, 2022. https://theintercept.com/2021/06/27/qanon-michael-flynn-digital-soldiers/.
“Kathy Barnette’s Futile Hunt for Voter Fraud Outside Philadelphia — and What It Says about the GOP.” Accessed May 8, 2022. https://www.inquirer.com/news/a/pennsylvania-voter-fraud-audit-kathy-barnette-20210726.html.
“MASTRIANO, DOUGLAS VINCENT (DOUG) – FollowTheMoney.Org.” Accessed May 7, 2022. https://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=44954798&default=candidate.
Matthews, Dylan. “The Incredible Influence of the Federalist Society, Explained.” Vox, June 3, 2019. https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/6/3/18632438/federalist-society-leonard-leo-brett-kavanaugh.
Micek, John L., Pennsylvania Capital-Star September 23, and 2021. “Report Flags Corporate Donors to GOP Lawmakers Tied to Pa. Election Probe | Thursday Morning Coffee.” Pennsylvania Capital-Star (blog), September 23, 2021.
“Michael Flynn Claims Jesus Will Be Called a Domestic Terrorist Today, Endorses Mastriano – The Hiu,” January 9, 2022. https://thehiu.com/michael-flynn-claims-jesus-will-be-called-a-domestic-terrorist-today-endorses-mastriano/.
WITF. “New Videos Appear to Show State Senator Doug Mastriano Closer to Capitol Insurrection than He Said,” May 26, 2021. https://www.witf.org/2021/05/26/new-videos-appear-to-show-state-senator-doug-mastriano-closer-to-capitol-insurrection-than-he-said/.
“Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Candidate Subpoenaed By Jan. 6 Committee Silent On Request.” Accessed May 8, 2022. https://www.cbsnews.com/pittsburgh/news/senator-doug-mastriano-jan-6-committee/.
Rosenberg, Matthew. “Pushing QAnon and Stolen Election Lies, Flynn Re-Emerges.” The New York Times, February 6, 2021, sec. U.S. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/06/us/politics/michael-flynn-qanon.html.
Sollenberger, Roger. “GOP Cash Machine’s Behavior Is ‘Nothing Short of Scandalous.’” The Daily Beast, August 9, 2021, sec. politics. https://www.thedailybeast.com/gop-cash-machines-behavior-is-nothing-short-of-scandalous.
Patriots Arise. “Speakers.” Accessed April 29, 2022. https://www.patriotsariseevent.com/speakers. Stieb, Matt. “Who Is Ron Watkins, the QAnon Celebrity Running for Congress?” Intelligencer,
October 28, 2021. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/ron-watkins-qanon-congress.html.
EXPOSEDbyCMD. “Who Funds The Federalist? Finally, We Know.,” December 9, 2020. https://www.exposedbycmd.org/2020/12/09/who-funds-the-federalist-finally-we-know/.
WinRed. “WinRed – Conservatives’ #1 Fundraising Technology.” Accessed May 8, 2022. https://directory.winred.com/directory.
“Yass Connections (Aug 2021).” Accessed May 7, 2022. https://littlesis.org/oligrapher/7128-yass-connections-aug-2021.